Sometimes, I fall out of love with my acting.
Everything seems overwhelming, difficult and I just want to put it in the ‘too hard’ basket. I’m sure you’ve also experienced that feeling at least once before. The good news is, that feeling doesn’t last forever. I have a few tools/tricks up my sleeve which I bring out every time I feel like there’s no hope and I’m ready to give up. Let’s take a look at a few ideas for falling BACK in love with acting again…
The Artist’s Date
This concept I certainly can’t take credit for. The Artist’s Date comes from one of my favourite creative self-help books out there, The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. When I’m feeling uninspired or unmotivated, I plan a weekly “date” with my creative self. It can literally be anything you like, there are only 2 main rules: it has to be something that you do alone, and it must be for at least 2 hours. Some things I’ve done in the past are taking myself to see a new film at the cinema (in reclining seats, with plenty of snacks, of course!), or visiting an art gallery, seeing some live music, sitting in a park and reading a book, painting on a blank canvas, knitting… you get the picture.
The Artist’s Date should NOT feel like work. It should be fun and something you look forward to every week. The idea is not to think too strategically about it – even though you might professionally identify as an actor, there’s no reason you can’t plan an Artist’s Date which nourishes your love for painting or cooking or writing. The point is simply to nourish and nurture your creative self, there are no limits or boundaries here.
Revisiting Your Origin Story
Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of WHY you fell in love with acting in the first place. Was it a particular film? A play? A moment in high school drama class? Sometimes I go back and revisit the film that originally made me want to pursue acting and filmmaking. It reminds me of the parts of my creativity that film inspired me to explore. You don’t need to take notes or to evaluate the experience, just revisit whatever it was the got you hooked on the acting bug.
Sometimes it’s really inspiring to be surrounded by like-minded, passionate creatives to help you get back on track. Start a group chat with 4-8 of your best actor friends (the motivated, reliable ones). Buy two (or seven…) blocks of chocolate, an ungodly amount of corn chips and set a date and invite them all over to read a play with you one evening or work on some scenes. It can be as formal or casual as you like – as long as you get together and do some work. You don’t need to film it, or publish it anywhere – the entire exercise is just to surround yourself with people you love and have some fun together.
One of the most wonderful parts of filmmaking and theatre-making is the opportunity to collaborate with other creatives and feed off their creative energy. Getting together with some actor mates and doing some work always makes me feel alive and energised.
Find Your Pollyanna
I tend to be a fairly positive person, but sometimes I get in a rut. I complain, I whine, and it feels like the entire world is set against me. This of course isn’t true, but at the time, it really feels like it. And at times like these, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the complaining and whingeing.
So, instead, I make a point of surrounding myself with POSITIVE people. You know that friend of yours, the one that is frustratingly positive about acting? Yeah, set up a coffee date or a phone call and let some of that unadulterated positivity rub off on you. It is amazing how human beings can adapt to their surroundings, so spend more time around creatives who are inspired and positive and less time around people who are negative or cynical.
Put Down a ‘Fun-Tape’
This does not need to be a 6-month project with a strict deadline and production schedule. Put down a self-tape this week. Why? No reason at all, except other than to have fun. It doesn’t even have to be a good self-tape – make the entire point of the exercise, to have FUN. And then afterwards, you can always press delete. This is a great way to stop making all your acting work about impressing the faceless masses and remember that acting is actually really enjoyable. Maybe pick a scene that is completely wrong for you, but something you’ve always wanted to try. Put down a scene as Batman, or Wonder Woman if you like – it really doesn’t matter! All that matters is that you ENJOY the process of it.
Take a Break
And finally, I’ll touch on the benefits of rest. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and uninspired because we’re actually way too stressed and busy to see the woods through the trees. And at times like these, it’s time to take a step back. It’s time to rest and recuperate. There is no shame in it. It took me a long time to accept that – I thought rest was “for the wicked”, that I’d simply “sleep when I’m dead”. I thought I was working hard, hustling, getting sh*t done. But in actual fact, I was burning the candle at both ends and running myself into the ground. And of course, eventually, I crashed.
Take my word for it – don’t do that. It’s unnecessary and of no help to anyone. Not to mention it’s bad for your own health and wellbeing. And I guarantee you, once you take the time to rest, you’ll come back feeling rejuvenated, motivated and inspired again.
There you have it gang, a couple of ideas from me on what to do when you’ve fallen out of love with acting. If you also have some hot tips for falling in love (both acting, and dating-wise) comment them below!